Isaac and I have been traveling for over twelve years together now. We have been all over the place from snowy peaks in Switzerland to sunny bays in the Caribbean to frantic markets in Asia and to the far reaches of South America. When we decided to travel when I was five months pregnant, we had a hard time deciding where to go. We wanted to go somewhere new, we wanted somewhere moderately comfortable, but still affordable, and with opportunity for light adventuring. The kind a five-month pregnant woman can do. We settled on Malta and Sicily after much deliberation.
Picking up our car in Malta was the first adventure. We landed after 36 hours of no sleep at night. The eclectic Maltese rental car guy met us at the airport, identifying us by our tell-tale backpacks and escorted us to our vehicle. It was moldy, rusted, barely ran and the windshield wipers didn’t work. It was perfect. We signed the paperwork and hurtled into traffic while Isaac quickly had to get used to driving on the left side of the road while driving stick shift, and I had to learn how to give directions the wrong way around round-abouts. It started to rain and the dirty windshield became more dirty as the broken windshield wipers flapped back and forth smearing mud across the glass. The car was on empty so we had to stop for gas – which was an adventure unto itself – and we had to put air in the tires. Once the car was finally sort-of safe to drive again we continued on until we pulled into the small fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
We woke up to a windy day and drove the car around the southern half of the island stopping to see sites and villages along the way. We stopped over in Mdina for a while and the took the boat to the island of Gozo for a few days. I found some great hiking while Isaac went scuba diving, and later we explored the salt pans and Dwerja.
Malta is a tiny island littered with archaeological ruins, age-old infrastructure, and melt-your-heart cute villages. Situated in the Mediterranean between North Africa and Sicily, it is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world. The ruins there are older than the Egyptian pyramids and the Maltese people have changed little about their lifestyle on their beautiful rock in the sea since centuries ago. The two-lane roads are barely wider than one small vehicle and there are castle-like churches everywhere you look. The island is enchanting. It is so beautiful that the first season of Game of Thrones was shot here until they pissed off the Maltese government and were kicked out to resume in Croatia.
Malta gets 300 days of sunshine and the warm sea is perfect for swimming and frolicking in hidden coves and rocky outcrops. We happened to travel to Malta during a very unusual storm that lasted for weeks and we didn’t get to see those sunny days or warm seas. This was unfortunate, but we still got a taste of how magical Malta is.
My tips and take aways from traveling while pregnant:
Keep the flight to under 6 hours— the eleven hour overnight flight was, let’s be honest, super uncomfortable with my big belly and aches and pains.
Don’t bounce around every night, stay in one place for a couple days – I am so used to being on the go all the time. Being pregnant isn’t easy, make it as easy as you can for yourself!
Bring maternity clothes, even if you don’t need them when you leave! –I didn’t realize how much I would grow just while we were traveling! I didn’t need maternity clothes at the beginning of the trip but I sure did by the end!
Stay in a nice-ish hotel, at least have your own bathroom –this isn’t the time to hostel it up, nuff said!
Bring comfortable shoes! – shouldn’t I know this by now?! I always forget how much city walking we end up doing on marble streets…
Load up on snacks when you land –restaurants aren’t always open and they can get pricey when you need to eat 6 times a day!